Without Compromising

As we begin our celebration of our Centennial Anniversary, I am mindful that our institution has undergone numerous changes while keeping central its commitment to Jesus Christ and the authority of Scripture.

IMG_3418[dropcap3]O[/dropcap3]ver the course of the last several months I have been asked many times, “How is it going?” Given the changes of the past year, particularly the name, I assume most people are asking about that. My answer is always the same. We are doing well. There is good energy on campus. People are expressing support and the rollout of the new name is being executed effectively. I also know others are following the challenges of the economy and its impact on the higher education community as well as the families we serve. So I usually include in my responses to queries the fact that we are encouraged by the interest in Cairn. We are working to expand our academic offerings and opportunities for students in ways that are both strategic and sustainable while adding value to a Cairn education. I am also sure that some are asking the question because they are curious about the outlook for the future and what other changes may be on the horizon. My responses genuinely reflect my enthusiasm for the future, my commitment to our vision as a biblical university, and my hope that our graduates will find themselves making a difference by serving Christ well in every sector of society and in every corner of the world, just as they have for a hundred years.

I remember hearing someone say in a change seminar that people do not handle change well. That simply is not true as a universal fact. The truth is some people do not handle some change in some situations well. But as human beings in an ever-changing world we do deal with change. We are resilient and forward-looking. We have to be. We lose jobs, loved ones, and favorite places. We also welcome children into our lives, in-laws, and new opportunities. The weather changes. The markets change. The culture changes. We adapt. We find our way to new ways of doing things. We learn to enjoy memories without dwelling on the loss, explore new dreams, and make the most of new opportunities. We also find ways to keep core commitments and hold fast to our convictions. We remain the same in essential ways while changing in less essential ways. These basic principles and dynamics are true of individuals and institutions. Cairn is no exception. As we begin our celebration of our Centennial Anniversary, I am mindful that our institution has undergone numerous changes while keeping central its commitment to Jesus Christ and the authority of Scripture.

Over the course of the next year and a half we will be highlighting our history, new opportunities, and our vision for the next century. From the very modest beginning in 1913, we have been changing, adapting, exploring, and reaching farther without compromising what matters most or apologizing for who we are and what we do.

At the December Commencement Ceremony, I delivered the charge to the graduates. It was an honor to do so at our first commencement under the new name. While more than 2,200 diplomas have been exchanged by alumni since the fall, these December graduates received the first Cairn diplomas as part of a formal ceremony. We have decided to share a portion of that charge with you in this issue. In previous issues you have been given a glimpse of what Cairn looks like, how the new name is being represented, and how the new name embodies our mission, vision, and history. Our prayer is that you will be encouraged now by seeing and reading more of what matters most to this institution and what we envision for our students and the future.

[framed_box]Todd J. Williams, Ph.D., has been the President of Cairn University since January 2008. He served as faculty and an administrator from 1996 to 2001, and then returned as Provost in 2005. He can be reached by emailing president@cairn.edu.

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  • As leaders moving forward into a rapidly changing world, Dr. William’s insightful rebuttal to the statement that individuals do not handle change well, is a timely statement. Far too often I have heard this statement, yet rarely does anyone challenge the fact that people do indeed adapt to the demands brought by change, confront the suffering or opposition that comes their way, and manage to make something good out of a negative situation. The reminder is outstanding, commendable, and essential as we forge the future with Christian courage, implementing the biblical principles that not only stabilize individuals, programs, and institutions in the midst of unprecedented changes, but that also enlarge our perspective that He empowers the believer to embrace the only one who is unchanging, with the assurance that “of the increase of His kingdom there shall be no end.”

    At Cairn, for years, the presence and the teaching of Christian truth is deeply felt, taught, embedded, and integrated into every academic subject,lecture, assignment, and project. I am proud to graduate from this commendable institution, so well represented by Dr. Williams’s words, as one that “makes no apologies for who we are or what we stand for,” because it truly urges its students to walk with Jesus Christ in the authority of scripture. It is this type of unchanging commitment and perspective that stabilizes the Christian vessel, the ambassadors who are filled with His Spirit to bring positive change and peace in the midst of any storm. Therefore, we do not fear change, but instead seek to create it wherever we go, so that we may assist those we lead to turn the attention of their hearts and minds to the centrality of scripture and the love of Jesus Christ.

    This is my college, the one marked by pathways and buildings that permanently usher me into the presence of my Lord, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. This is the place where my intellect has been shaped with biblical integration and solid, contemporary knowledge; where my character has been forged in Christian virtue, and my love of learning has been expanded. I am forever grateful for what Philadelphia Biblical University, now known as Cairn University, has poured into my life. The education I have received continues to have a profound impact in the lives of hundreds of students I am privileged to teach through the many changes that confront them daily.